Polish women strike against what could be most restrictive abortion laws in Europe

Polish abortion ban protest

Photo via Damnyou_Mawrr / Twitter

Women in other cities are also marching and tweeting in solidarity.

Women in Poland have gone on strike in protest to proposed laws that would make abortion basically illegal. Legislators have proposed eliminating the country's existing exceptions on abortion (in cases of rape or incest, or if the woman’s or fetus’ life is in danger), and making getting an abortion punishable by five years in prison.

Today, throughout Poland, women are striking from work and house care and taking to the streets dressed in black. Women in cities like Berlin, Edinburgh, and Kiev are also dressing in black, marching, and tweeting in solidarity.

According to Radio Poland, the proposed legislation was launched by a citizens initiative called Stop Abortion and has already passed one hurdle in parliament. If passed, the laws would be among the most restrictive in Europe.

"They want to introduce an anti-abortion law which will mean in many cases, women will be sentenced to death. It will take away the sense of security they have, the treatment options available when pregnancy puts their lives or health in danger,” one protester told the BBC.

In 2010, Reuters reported that Polish women were increasingly seeking abortions abroad, and that illegal abortions were incredibly common in the country. These proposed laws would likely make both of those practices all the more common.

And lest you think this is something that could only happen in a Catholic country, the laws Mike Pence passed in Indiana (which resulted in Purvi Patel being sentenced to 20 years in prison for a miscarriage) are nearly as restrictive.

Hillary Clinton promises to repeal 40 years of restrictive abortion access
In 1976, Congress passed the Hyde Amendment—and it's been a thorn in women's rights activists' side ever since. The bill rider prevents federal funds from being used to pay for abortion, except to save the life of the mother. Each year the bill is tacked on to other legislation and passed. This year, though, for the first time in 40, its repeal has become part of the Democratic platform.
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